Monday, November 18, 2013

Demo 4: Happ - Human hardware, wearable software

Team: Ben Gray, Tuomas Mikola, Joonas Samposalo, Maria Sebastià, Lluís Tous, Bryony Watson, Daniel Wright

Happ - Human hardware, wearable software
Video (1:32)
Presentation slides
Happ is a way to transform and store data using haptic technology. This means that you can download digital data by just touching the source of data and store it into human body. Happ is compatible with any media platform and operating system. No more cables, no more memory sticks or memory cards, no more running out of battery.
In a nutshell this means that the human body is like human hard drive, wearing the software to process the streaming data and powering it with human body’s own natural electricity. To be able to interact with digital world without any devices.

Our vision
Our ten commandments were guiding us towards the wanted outcome:

  1. Would be useful across all cultures
  2. Should reduce the needs for portable devices
  3. Could be used this product as a tool
  4. Representing the need for personal privacity
  5. Making more information easier to obtain
  6. The concept should be future ready not bound by current/ present technologies
  7. Easily usable by any generation (no age restriction)
  8. Not dependent upon a constant Internet and service connection
  9. Accompanying software and applications must be intuitive
  10. The final idea should not be a dead end

From these points we wanted to create a vision which encompasses these ideas and gives us access to information more easily. We saw the video "Connecting me" by Ericsson and it was a big inspiration for us. It spawned many new ideas; the information into our body, the kinetic electricity, the combination of the digital world with the real life, and so on.

Uses for HAPP
The uses for Happ are endless.  Educational (gain information easily), security (personal identification, banking), home entertainment (media file transferring by touch), medical (dietary tracking, live patient to doctor information), retail (product information retrieval, price comparison, pay by touch) and business (exchange business cards by shaking hands) to mention few. We have user cases filmed on video also.

How it works
Simply put, you store data in your brain. (In 2020's it is possible to modify memory to store any information you want. Using your body's own electromagnetic field, it is also possible to transfer data from human to a machine or from a human to another human.
You can't forget your data devices any-more, as you are the device.
However, we are not talking about implants. You as the user of the technology have the choice to wear the software, which is a sticker or a temporary tattoo chip, wearable electronics in device. You don't need to have any kinds of microchips under your skin. Removable sticker contains all the necessary technology to read and write memory and manage connections.
In short - your body is the hard drive, the wearable sticker takes care of the processing of the data.


  • Can access information and transfer data instantly through touch
  • You don’t have to carry around a device to store and transfer information
  • Can be used and understood by all ages and cultures
  • Adaptable to any technology including future products
  • Sustainable and ecological due it being powered by the human body
  • Works without an internet connection
  • Easy to wear and remove
  • Capacity to be used for all areas of life, the possibilities are endless
  • Chips are affordable and easily updateable
  • Information is stored within human cells so without this hardware the chip is useless and information cannot be reached


  • Still need a device to see the information
  • How would you choose which file you wanted to transfer without a device? Brain power? Options on device?
  • Viruses
  • Power failure
  • Ethical questions. Fear of technology. Will people believe it is safe to store information in cells?

Research & Technology
Capacitive coupling - the transfer of energy within an electrical network (this becomes possible within humans as we have a very weak out put in AC electricity and a weak magnetic field.
Skin mounted electronics allow for many capabilities and possibilities, So far is capable of displaying LED lights use fully functioning radio frequency capacitors and other wireless antenna. (Led by John A. Rogers, the Lee J. Flory-Founder professor of engineering at the University of Illinois.)
This is not so much competition as it is a companion. We feel in 2020 the capabilities of this skin mounted electronic device will allow for management of data flow in partnership with the Happ's capacitive coupling capability.

Ericsson's connected me - using haptic technologies to bridge a connection between devices and data through touch. They propose in their video and demonstration that using the human body we can bring together two technologies and transfer data between the two, like a human cable. We still follow this ideology but have removed the possibility of only being a bridge between devices. In fact now we chose to store data and have the freedom to choose what data to receive and store within the human brain cells, a human memory drive for digital data. We remove the need to constantly have a touch connection with two devices.

This competition goes on to explain how the human body can be used as a smart cable transferring data at around 10 mbps. This is a very weak and slow data connection speed and such things in the modern world as HD video and larger files would take impossible amounts of time to transfer.

Nokia's recently patented R&D idea of a haptic connected vibrating tattoo. This product involves actual tattoo possibilities (artistic expression) and sticker placements on the human skin, within the tattoo ink and sticker magnetised ink that reacts to magnetic waves to cause vibrations. For example, a text message or phone call is received and the reactor vibrates alerting the wearer to answer the call or view the message. The magnetic waves would be produced by the mobile phone developed by Nokia. Of course many issues arise here in terms of will any magnetic field cause a vibration and once the Nokia phone becomes outdated and you buy a new brand the technology is now useless and un-valued. This idea also is only the transfer of very simple data in the form of commands, such as vibrate patterns to alert for different meanings.

NTT Data from Japan has also been researching into the possibilities of capacitive coupling using the human body as a high powered cable. This company however from 2007 focused mainly on their connection speed between devices, starting with a speed of only 10 Kbps. Again this idea was to use the human body and its weak magnetic and electrical fields to transfer basic data. The power required for such technology to work was also recorded as less than what Bluetooth requires. This company did manage to also produce a transmitter on the devices that did not require physical touch but instead a proximity to the transmitter, eliminating the need to hold any device at all times when transferring data, keeping a phone in your pocket. However their connection speeds thus far are very limited and larger data files would take time to transmit.

Our idea goes beyond just being a cable to transfer data, but also store it without the need for a device and the retrieval of any information.

Connecting Cultures
Happ eases also cultural connectivity. You eg. obtain information about products with your own language outside your own country. Companies could place information chips in their product’s label for consumer to have detailed information about the product.

The data transfer would be easy and natural no matter which culture you’re from. Just like handing out a postcard to another person.

The feedback statement to the team presented by René Lansink in the feedback discussion, last day plenary:

The tagline of the HAPP project was human hardware, wearable software. Basically this was a research project to investigate the possibility to use the human body, especially the human brain, to decode, store en encode digital information. The group studied the current state of technological development of wearable electronics at the research groups of Nokia, Siemens, NTT Data.

In the application the group developed a sticker with an embedded micro chip is attached onto the human skin which can transmit data and signals to and from the body. By using a sticker the ‘device’ is easily ‘removable’, e.i. the user can decide to be either on- or offline.

The suggested use of this ‘system’ was rather generic: education (automated learning), security (identification), home entertainment (file transfer), medical (real time biometric info), retail (virtual shopping).

The project was worked out and presented in such a convincing way that it almost seemed ‘of the shelf’ technology, which was a strong aspect considering the media 2020 context of the project. As we are speaking of a kind of ‘telepathic’ technology here, the examples of the use of this technology might have been a bit more imaginative or mind boggling…

Summary of comments by other lecturers

The team worked very well and showed good results. The idea of brain storage of data it's promising. 
Maybe it was more a research project than a design, but the very clear remarks about how the use of the haptic technology could be, demonstrated that the team had answered many previous questions and had puted an amount of thought about it. The initial project changed a lot out of the research done.
For a next step the audiences should be narrowed a little bit to a specific target. 
Maybe the examples should be clearer about telepathy: that could be a nice interesting point for next edition.

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